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Best Trampoline Buying Guide 2021 – Reviews & Ratings

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We understand that buying the best trampoline is not an easy task, as there are different aspects to be considered before you can make your purchase decision. Here, we will take a lot at some of the main features customers want in the trampolines they buy.

But first, you should be able to answer some of the following questions:

What are you trying to use the Trampoline For?

Before making the final decision, it is crucial to determine the type of usage the trampoline is being bought for. That is where the age groups, household segmentation, and individual goals play an imperative role.

Family Trampolines

Family Trampolines

They are usually made with a versatile use in mind across different ages. So these are not too big, are mostly round and evenly spread the force. Family trampolines are also known as mini trampolines or rebounders.

Water Trampolines

Water Trampolines

People who are interested in taking watersports to the next level should try some of the different water trampoline options. They are springless and float in water and can be great fun for people who love to be a part of pool parties and are interested in beach adventures.

Kid Trampolines

These are smaller in size, round and come with extra padding and enclosure netting. Frames can also be made of plastic.

Olympic Trampolines

Olympic Trampolines

Large, rectangular trampolines with extra padding to reduce impact. They require great skill to maintain control so should not be used by the common man.

Are you Buying the Safest Trampoline?

All the Top rated trampolines in the market give high importance to safety. The safest trampoline should be smoothly welded and should not accidentally cut people during a bounce. It should have a sturdy metal frame with smooth, rustless pipe edges.

If you are opting to buy a Spring trampoline, then it should have covered springs, or if it is for kids that you should look for a trampoline that is springless, less bouncy to add safety for children.

Safety is also considered to be the number one consideration of most parents buying the best trampoline for their children. It is of utmost importance that the kids stay safe and secure while jumping on their trampolines. When buying for young children aged 3 – 10, look for trampolines that offer bounce protection as well as safety enclosures.

Are Size And Placement Important?

Where you will place the trampoline will decide the size and shape of your trampoline, and hence, also the cost.

For example, if you have a huge backyard with a family of 5 to 10 members then you should look at the Skywalker trampoline with a full enclosure that is considered to be the best trampoline for backyards.

It has a lightning-quick Enclosure System installation set-up with no bolts, screws, brackets, braces or pole caps. Push-pin technology allows for a fast, easy setup and break-down of the trampoline’s frame and enclosure system.

Getting Familiar with Different Shapes

There are four basic geometric designs for trampolines. Each has its own strengths and different shapes are best suited for distinct uses.

Round Trampoline

Round Trampoline

This type of trampoline is advised for kids below the age of 6. Parents don’t need to worry all the time since this is probably the safest trampoline so far and children can use it freely.

It is decreasing the chances of injury because of the spring circular setup that pushes jumpers towards the middle of the mat. The highest build generally is 18tf.

Rectangular Trampoline (like the Olympians jump on)

Rectangular Trampoline

Competitive trampolinists and skilled gymnasts use this kind of shape. They are taking more space than previous trampoline shapes and are more expensive. This shape provides the best and most powerful bounce and gives professional jumpers the height and length that acrobatic activity demands.

Square Trampoline

Square Trampoline

This type of model offers a combination of benefits for both rectangular and round trampolines. More bouncing than a round trampoline, offer large jumping area and are much safer than their rectangular counterparts. They are a very good choice for those people who have less space and want a powerful bounce since they take up less room than the rectangular model.

Octagon – a novelty?

It usually provides a little more jumping space, and it’s a lot like a circular model. Instead of an octagonal model people are better off getting a rectangular or round trampoline, simply because they are much more costly.

Oval Trampoline

Oval Trampoline

The oval trampoline I found has a larger usable surface than a similar round trampoline. Users have a wider jumping surface from one side to the other while maintaining the self-centering feature of a round trampoline. As with all large trampolines, using an oval unit requires extra effort to get a big bounce.

What Type of Bounce are You Looking For?

Choosing the type of bounce is critical because many people will show dissatisfaction if their trampoline doesn’t have enough bounce for their jumping routine. This is true for children and adults alike.

It is important for your child to have the right type of bounce on their trampoline because it protects them from any injuries or falling off the trampoline. This is the beauty of Bazoongi trampolines for kids because they provide just the right amount of bounce for kids so that they do not have any possible accidents while jumping.

As an adult, you should choose between a hard bouncer and a soft bouncer, depending on your body’s endurance. If you are looking for a way to exercise outdoors, the hard bouncer category is suitable for gymnasts who like a challenge. These trampolines are made of resilient, hard-wearing materials that deliver a solid, hard bounce, allowing you to stretch your muscles and exercise your body.

The 36 coil springs are rust-proof, durable and made of high-quality steel wire to provide extra bounce to your jumps.

What Makes a Trampoline Best For kids?

Apart from the age group and skill set which is a significant factor in determining the suitability of a trampoline. Some of the other factors that have been listed below can not be ignored while making the purchase decision.

  • Safety and control of bounce.
  • Choosing between covered or springless versions of different trampolines.
  • Determining whether accessories like a ladder and enclosure netting are needed.

What Makes a Best Family Trampoline?

Did you know that trampolining can be a great family activity? It’s both healthy as it allows you to exercise your muscles, and fun because you and your kids can do jumping sessions together!

We have added some top suppliers to our portfolio of best trampolines such Zupapa Trampolines which brings you the Giant Square Trampoline, which measures 15’ x 15’ and can accommodate your entire family.

It can be installed outdoors in the sun, so your kids will get healthy doses of vitamin D as they play and hence can be considered be one of the best outdoor trampolines, Featuring a top-grade Permatron mat, a high quality galvanized steel frame and 116 ultra-bouncy springs. This trampoline is the perfect addition to homes with young kids.

However, due to its high durability, superior design, and spring less jumping capabilities.

The Thunder Trampoline with Enclosure by Vuly is considered to be the best family trampoline and is an amazing option for some idyllic family time.

This is a soft-edged trampoline fitted with highly durable leaf springs that give a fun, secure bounce.

The net is very sturdy and the frame is coated with rust-resistant powder, which ensures this trampoline will last you a good few years!

What Makes the Best Trampoline for Adults?

What Makes the Best Trampoline for Adults?We have gathered some data from the past purchases and came to a conclusion that some of the best trampolines designed for aged people such as gymnasts, athletes and fitness lovers will always have the following features in the trampoline they buy.

  • Ample jumping space can become a playing factor for a majority of the adults who are planning to make the purchase.
  • The shape of the trampoline becomes a critical feature to consider because it can be directly correlated with the goals and ambitions of the buyer, i.e. somebody who wants to buy a trampoline for gymnastics might need a lot of jumping space, therefore, choosing a rectangle trampoline might be the best option for him/her.
  • Sufficient padding to help avoid any pains and keep this sports injury free, having sufficient padding on the trampoline can make them safe to use. Therefore whenever you are making the purchase, be sure to look for the padding the trampoline is using.
  • Easy set-up and storage can be cumbersome while joining all the parts together. Having a step by step instruction manual and easy to assemble trampoline solutions have always been our top most priority, and we try our best to provide this information to make the assembly process easy and time-saving.

Buying The Best Trampoline Brand Is The Only Way To Go!

Below, is our “cheat sheet” which shows the most important features for some of the best trampoline brands sold on this website. Click on the trampoline name to visit the actual product page and see each trampoline’s full features.

Top-Rated Trampolines Reviews For 2021

A trampoline is one of the best ways of keeping your kids healthy and spending some quality family time. These playthings are available in a range of brands, designs, sizes, colors, and materials.

Our panel of experts has selected the top 8 trampolines that provide some desirable features— safety, affordability, and a great bouncing experience.

1. Zupapa 15-14-12 Ft TUV Trampoline

Zupapa trampolines come in a variety of sizes and are one of the most popular trampolines for a reason. It has a good balance between quality and price, maintaining a high level of quality while still being affordable.

The “TUV” at the end means that it has been certified by TUV Nord, a highly respected European certification body for sports equipment, household appliances, toys and DIY products. They are a very strict organization and it’s not easy to get them to sign off on your product, so if you see this symbol, you know that you are using the highest quality possible.

And quality is what you get from this German made trampoline. Made of heavy-duty galvanized steel, you hardly have to worry about rust. The legs are wide and braced to provide a high level of stability and are attached to safety net poles for added strength and to prevent twisting from regular use or weather patterns.

The springs are also made of heavy-duty galvanized steel and there are 108 on the 12-foot model, compared to 96 on most other trampolines.

Perhaps the best part of this product is that when you order it comes with all the accessories you need, including a galvanized steel ladder, netting and a rain cover. It shows up on your doorstep in three boxes, which can be intimidating, but it’s actually very easy to install and requires very few tools.

While this product has a lot to recommend it, it does have a few issues. Perhaps worst of all, the customer service is absolutely terrible. You may not have to contact them, but if you do, expect to have a hard time finding someone authorized to help you, and even sometimes a hard time getting a response.

That said, working through Amazon will give you the customer service cushion you need and provide a great trampoline.

2. Skywalker Trampolines 12-Feet Round TrampolineSkywalker Trampolines 12-Feet Round Trampoline

Skywalker is generally ahead of the curve when it comes to trampoline technology, which means “safety” in most cases, and that is definitely on display here. One of the safest and most fun trampolines on the market, Skywalker’s 12-foot round trampolines are great for families with one or two kids who want to play at the same time.

Their pads are tightly woven for strength and have some of the best springs to make each jump a dry one. The material is great and will stand up well to the elements, sometimes lasting for years without any visible damage other than fading.

An often overlooked feature is the padding of the frame, and the padding on this model is really great. Thick and soft, I believe that unless you want to jump on metal, you don’t have to worry about hitting this or climbing up/down causing serious injury.

Another nice feature is that the safety net actually snaps onto the frame so your child doesn’t accidentally slip under the net or the top of the net doesn’t slide down, making it easy to jump over.

If there’s any obvious downside to the Skywalker 12-footer, it’s that it’s hard to put up. It doesn’t require a lot of tools, but the instructions are poorly written and there are probably more parts than strictly necessary. I’d almost rather it come in more boxes and have parts already assembled than have to put every little thing together myself.

3. Kangaroo Hoppers 15-Feet Round TrampolineKangaroo Hoppers 15-Feet Round Trampoline

If there’s one word to describe the 15-foot circle of the Kangaroo Jump, it’s “sleek.

This trampoline looks better than the kind of bouncer James Bond would use and is constructed of black powder-coated galvanized steel.

The legs are actually bent to follow the curve of the frame, providing greater stability and eliminating “hot spots” where the trampoline can become unbalanced by trying to get on board at one of the cut-off edges.

The springs are super strong and resilient. Coupled with a heavy-duty pad that feels like it’s bursting with potential energy, you can get some serious height with this pad. The webbing is taut and seems ready to catch any disobedient jumpers, plus it comes with a zippered door that provides easy access while ensuring maximum safety.

All of the metal is treated to ensure that it can be rust-free on the outside, and the materials that make up the frame pad and mat seem to be designed to be able to handle a wide range of temperatures and weather patterns.

A wonderful change was that when I had to call customer service regarding a missing part, they were very helpful and friendly and shipped out a whole package of parts the next day. I’ve even read stories of people whose trampolines were damaged in the hurricane and the company sent them a brand new one for free! That’s a company that cares about its employees. This is a company that cares about its customers.

While a 15 foot round bed for a kangaroo jump is a bit pricey for what you get, it’s definitely worth paying extra for a trampoline you can trust.

4. Skywalker Trampolines Square TrampolineSkywalker Trampolines Square Trampoline

While the price is higher, when you consider their square trampoline, I still think Skywalker deserves two spots on this list. It’s not as sophisticated as their round version, but there’s a lot to recommend it.

The entire frame is made of galvanized steel with a weather-resistant finish, plus its interlocking for easy assembly.

Each corner has a leg that runs through it for optimal stability, and each leg extends upward to a security fence post that curves over it for a little added comfort in the design.

The fence itself has no gaps, so you don’t have to worry about someone flying out of an unprotected spot, or that spot getting bigger over time. In fact, in most cases, the square Skywalker exceeds ASTM safety standards.

The biggest problem with this model is that it doesn’t feel very secure. The bolts they sent in are just a little too long.

They are still sturdy enough to stay in place, but they make the frame wobble when people jump on them. I don’t think this will cause any real damage, but it can be nerve-wracking to watch your child and see the whole thing move slightly.

Also, the springs aren’t super impressive. They’ll get the job done, but for the price, I’d expect it to be more than just “adequate”.

5. Upper Bounce 15-Foot TrampolineUpper Bounce 15-Foot Trampoline

This rebounder by Upper Bounce is extremely easy to assemble and disassemble, making it perfect for climates with rough winters.

Being able to easily take apart your trampoline and store it away can save you many headaches which is why it is one of our recommended models.

Important Specifications:

  • Easy assemble/disassemble feature
  • Jumping mat made of premium PP mesh with 8 row stitching
  • Premium 1″ thick foam spring cover with 450g PVC on top and 310g PE on bottom
  • Rust resistant galvanized double powder coated steel frame
  • 330 lb. weight capacity
  • 96 x 7.5″ springs
  • Safety enclosure

Besides just being easy to assemble and disassemble, this model is also made out of extremely high quality parts as well. The powder coated frame is extremely durable and rust resistant, and both the trampoline and the enclosure can be put together with no tools required.

The jumping mat on this model is made of a premium polypropylene mesh material with 8-row stitching to prevent tearing and lengthen the lifespan of the rebounder. The safety pad on this model contains foam that doesn’t soak in water or mildew, as well as never even lose its shape.

The safety enclosure netting is even made out of 100% premium Terylene mesh material that is extremely durable and weatherproof. You can buy this model in many different sizes such as 7.5, 12, 14, 15 and 16-Feet.

6. ExacMe 15-Foot TrampolineExacMe 15-Foot Trampoline

This ExacMe 15ft. trampoline received many great reviews because it feels sturdy and secure, and unlike many other models it actually has a high weight capacity.

All the parts seem to be very well made and you can tell that it will last for a long time.

Important Specifications:

  • Frame made of rust-resistant galvanized steel
  • 108 galvanized springs
  • PP jumping material
  • Safety net made of PE mesh netting
  • 6 W-shaped legs
  • 375 lb. weight capacity
  • Ladder

The 6 W-shaped legs give the rebounder 12 balanced contact points with the ground making it feel very safe and stable. Thanks to the 108 galvanized springs the bounce is extremely good as well.

Another good aspect of this rebounder is that it meets all of the ASTM, TUV, and GS quality and safety requirements. This helps because you know you have less to worry about when it comes to the well-being of your children.

7. Springfree 13-Foot Jumbo Square Trampoline
Springfree 13-Foot Jumbo Square Trampoline

If you want the safest trampoline for your kids (and don’t mind spending a little extra money), then you’ll have to get the Springfree 13ft jumbo square trampoline.

Springrfree considers this to be “the world’s safest trampoline”, and the consumer reviews seem to agree.

Important Specifications:

  • Double powder coated galvanized steel frame
  • Flexible fiberglass rods (no springs)
  • Flexible safety enclosure
  • Hands free webbing on enclosure
  • 330 lb. weight capacity
  • Flexible basketball hoop
  • UV resistant polypropylene nets & mats
  • Surface area of 16 ft. trampoline with springs
  • Safe ladder

There are many common injuries associated with jumping on a trampoline, and while some brands do their best to prevent them – there’s only so much they can do. This forces many parents to avoid trampolines altogether. To fix this problem, Springfree decided to come out with its own patented design that eliminates as many of those common injuries as possible.

While most rebounders use dangerous metal springs, the Springfree jumbo trampoline uses flexible fiberglass rods. These flexible rods are positioned below the outside ring of the mat and connect to the galvanized steel frame.

To ensure the trampoline will last for many years to come, the steel frame is double powder coated and even waxed on the inside. It’s also located far below the mat and is completely out of harm’s way.

Because Springfree trampolines have no need for foam padding, they come with their own SoftEdge mat. This mat is 30 times more shock absorbent than regular foam padding and is built to last much longer. This is thanks to the simple idea of covering the stitching on the mat with yellow webbing.

The last and most impressive feature of this rebounder is the Flexinet. This safety enclosure is so flexible that you can actually jump up against it and bounce right back. This is achieved by using (once again) flexible fiberglass rods instead of the traditional steel poles.

8. Skywalker 15-Foot Round TrampolineSkywalker 15-Foot Round Trampoline

The Skywalker 15-foot round trampoline is the best-selling model on Amazon by far, and for good reason too.

It’s extremely well built and comes with a top-of-the-line safety enclosure that will last you for many years if properly taken care of.

The Skywalker Trampolines 15 feet is known for being affordable as well as safe which makes it the top choice if you are on a budget and yet want the best.

One of the most important features of the trampoline is the safety enclosure. Skywalker has done a commendable job when it comes to the attachment of the jumping mat with the enclosure.

It is observed that for trampolines with enclosures there is always a gap between the bottom of the enclosure and the top of the jumping mat, but there is no such gap in this product.

Important Specifications:

  • Stay-put enclosure that interlocks to the jumping mat
  • The patented button-hole feature which eliminates gaps between the safety net and rebounder
  • Enclosure netting made of polyethylene for better durability and UV protection
  • 96 x 6 ½” rust-resistant springs
  • Extra thick spring pad
  • 200 lb. weight capacity
  • Frame made of 16 gauge galvanized rust-resistant steel
  • 6 W-shaped legs
  • Reinforced T-sockets connect the enclosure to the frame

Just by reading the consumer reviews of this Skywalker trampoline, you will begin to see why it’s so popular. Everything is built to last and it’s even extremely simple to put together. The safety net on this model works better than most thanks to their patented design which interlocks the netting to the mats v-rings. This eliminates the gaps for kids to fall through – making it much safer to jump on.

Thanks to the 96 springs which are 6 ½ inches long there is plenty of bounce which is essential for a great trampoline. You can buy this model in red, blue, green and camo as well as choose between different sizes such as 8, 10 and 12-feet.

How We Choose Our Trampoline

Here are some of the most important things we investigated and considered before purchasing a new trampoline. We reviewed and compared various features to make sure we were buying the right unit.

Buying Guide

There is a wide range of trampoline sizes. Home-use trampolines generally range in size from six-foot to 17-foot in diameter. Of course, we wanted the biggest bang for our buck here, but we had to measure the yard space we had available first, making sure to leave ample leeway on all sides.

We wanted to buy a big model, but we couldn’t cram a 17-foot trampoline into the small space we allotted. My rule of thumb is that you need at least 5-10 feet clearance on all sides of the trampoline. Moreover, you need head clearance. I wanted our yard to have a vertical clearance of 25 feet infinity for absolute safety.

When determining which size was best for our yard, I made sure to check for out buildings, fences, poles, power lines and any other impediments that may be potential hazards.

There are smaller sizes available to accommodate limited space, but you need to make sure the size and model you select is the best trampoline for all the members of your family.

Other Important Features to Consider

Important Features to ConsiderOnce you have decided on the size and shape, then you need to consider these important features to make sure you get the best trampoline possible for your money.

Failure to consider these features could cause you to waste money and possibly risk the safety of you or your children.

Springs

Good quality springs are extremely important and will determine the lifespan and the bounce of your trampoline. To determine the balance of a trampoline you will need to figure out the number of springs as well as their length that a particular model has.

A high quality rebounder should have a spring length of at least 6 to 6 ½ inches long or else it will have very little bounce. This is often a sign of a weak frame as well. Since longer springs mean more stress on the frame due to the bigger bounce, you will often see more cheaply made models with short springs because of this.

Weight Limit

Make sure to take into account the weight of all the people that will be jumping on the trampoline before ever making a purchase. Going over the maximum weight capacity could lead to many problems which will cause the lifespan of your rebounder to end early.

Frame Quality

Having a high quality frame is essential when looking for the best trampoline possible. Since the framing is what holds the whole rebounder together it is probably the most important feature to take into consideration. You need to check to see if the frame on the model you’re wanting to buy is welded and if so you need to look at the quality of the weld.

If the weld is rough and patchy and looks very unprofessionally done then I would definitely stay away from that model. Bad welding on a frame means that it is very weak and it could even cut anyone that rubs against it. I would personally recommend getting a frame that uses T-bar joints because it requires less welding if any at all. T-bar frames are usually very strong and can typically hold more weight than any other type of framework.

Safety Features

Safety should be your number one priority when buying a trampoline for your kids. These important features will help greatly reduce the risk of injury of anyone jumping on the rebounder.

  • Padding – Make sure the padding isn’t made out of a cheap tarp material that you typically find in a home improvement store. Instead get padding that is made of PVC or polyethylene (PE) to ensure that it last for at least 2 to 3 years
  • Enclosure – Having a safety enclosure will make it so that your kids won’t be able to fall off the trampoline and injure themselves. You want to make sure the foam railings aren’t covered with that cheap tarp material as well if you can.
  • Anchor Kit – Keeps the trampoline connected to the ground and makes it so that a big gust of wind is never able to pick it up and move it. This ensures that the rebounder doesn’t get damaged and neither does anything else nearby. Depending on where you live this might be essential.

Don’t Forget The Ladder

Trampolines Ladder

The ladder allows for easy access to and exit from the trampoline platform. More importantly, removing the ladder between uses prevents young children from getting on the trampoline without adult supervision.

A Lower Enclosure?

A lower enclosure prevents pets and people from getting under the trampoline. It also prevents balls, other objects and debris from accumulating under the jumping surface.

When the trampoline is in use, children and pets can be injured by getting under the trampoline, and objects under the jumping mat can injure the user. This is a simple issue for me.

After feeling a little reluctant about these extras, I finally bought into the idea. Safety is paramount.

Choosing the Right Size

Making sure you get the right size of a trampoline is extremely important. You want to make sure not to get a rebounder too big if it’s meant for small children nor one too small if it’s meant for bigger kids.

You also want to consider your kids growing up and outgrowing the particular sized model you get them.

Before you ever go shopping or read trampoline reviews you want to look at the layout of your backyard first. The size of your rebounder needs to fit perfectly on a flat surface so everything is stable.

If it leans on any side then it will make jumping more difficult and it could harm the trampoline over time as well.

Make sure you will have about a yard of clear ground around the edges as well as around 8 yards of clearance overhead. Make sure everything around the trampoline is perfectly safe if anyone ever happens to fall off to avoid unnecessary injury.

 

Fall Flower Box Ideas

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The first brisk evening of fall broke through the warmth of summer and suddenly awakened us to the arrival of the season. It seems that one day we are enjoying long days and picnics, and the next day we are greeted with fall soccer and early morning frosts. These crisp nights also tend to herald the end of our gardening season. The less hardy plants start to wilt and die and your garden starts to turn brown.

The thought of all your hard work steadily disappearing with each falling leaf is a disappointing, albeit inevitable, end to the summer. So, don’t let it be the end of your garden season! Take back fall with your flower boxes and hanging baskets, as they are a great way to extend your gardening season beyond Halloween, and even extend the color of your garden into Thanksgiving. Once your summer annuals are done blooming, it’s time to start working on some plants and flowers that will last longer in your hardiness zone. Don’t forget that some plants will look great in your flower boxes even after the first frost and will provide color later in the year.

Chrysanthemums, or daisies, are very common and colorful fall flowers. Today’s gardeners have many different varieties, including some very hardy plants that can be perennials all the way to zone 5! Chrysanthemums also make great container plants. Chrysanthemums are also great container plants and work very well in flower boxes. Choose 2-3 different colors to provide a nice, varied display. If you wish, you can use a palette of fall colors such as orange, yellow and dark red. They match your traditional Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations.

Pansies

PansiesPansies are a great way to add some vibrant color to your fall flower boxes. While pansies are not tough enough to last as perennials in winter areas, they thrive in the cooler weather that fall offers and some varieties can even survive light snow. Pansies come in a wide variety of colors, making them a great choice for filling gaps in flower boxes or hanging baskets.

Ornamental cabbages and kale provide great foliage centerpieces around which to build fall flower boxes and hanging baskets. There are several different varieties, all of which come in different shapes and sizes. As the weather gets colder, these plant centers become brighter in color and really provide a great color base for fall flower boxes and hanging baskets.

Don’t let fall by the end of your beautiful garden. With a little research and care, you can have flower boxes and hanging baskets that will extend your growing season and bring extra color and beauty to your outdoor decor at a time of year when most people give up.

Window Sill Garden: Make the Most of your Flower Boxes

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Want to decorate a deck or porch. Highlight a window? Spice up a balcony or fence rail? Consider planting flower boxes to create mini-gardens that are sure to add color and personal style to your home.

FG_FlowerBox_Gardening_1Think about achieving maximum visual appeal with your flower boxes. Don’t make the all-too-common mistake of planting just a few flowers in a row. Flower boxes will look best and will attract compliments when they’re abundant, bountiful and lush.

When planting a flower box, consider using various colors, different heights and textures to create visual impact.  Think in layers from back to front using taller plants in the back, shorter fuller plants in the middle and shorter blooms or even trailers overflowing the box in front. Experiment and try new things in different combinations.

Digging in

Soil-less mixes are recommended, particularly for flower boxes that are to be suspended. A soil-less mix will help to avoid overly waterlogged boxes that may become too heavy and eliminates the need for using stones at the bottom for drainage.

Better still, a soil-less mix encourages the plants to grow to provide better aeration for the roots and good drainage, while retaining necessary moisture. Slow-release and water-soluble fertilizer will also help your box plantings to thrive.

FG_FlowerBox_Gardening_2To plant, start in the back center and work your way out, then the middle, then the front  Make the hole a little larger than the roots.  Remove the plant from its container and loosen the roots, place the plant in the hole and fill it with soil.  Gently firm and level out the soil, and finally, water thoroughly.

Watering and Care

Regular watering is essential for plants exposed to full sunny days. Water frequently throughout the hot summer months. Water until you see water dripping from the bottom of the box. You can add a layer of mulch to the top to help flowers retain moisture. Pinch off and remove dead and decaying flowers and leaves to keep up appearances and to eliminate possible soil contamination from bacteria.

Flower boxes are an ideal way to grow your favorite flowers and a decorative way to add splashes of color to your outdoor life.

How to Harvest Seeds From Flower: Save Your Money

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Growing your own plants goes hand-in-hand with producing your own seeds. Perhaps you are concerned about saving a particular type of seed or you want to trade seeds with a friend. Harvesting seeds is the perfect way to free up your garden budget for décor or other projects. Here are a few tips to help you harvest seeds.

Spot your seeds

Nearly all plants develop seeds behind their faded flowers. Seeds can be stored in pods, heads, capsules or fruits. Seeds range in size from small specs of dust to the size of a fingernail.

Secure your seeds

The key to success in seed saving is to wait until the seeds have fully matured but not yet fallen off the plant. Fruit and vegetable seeds are harvested when the fruit is ripe while flowering plant seeds can be harvested after they have dried on the plant.

Store your seeds

Make sure your seeds are clean and dry before saving them in an envelope, jar or seed packet. Label the container with the plant’s name, preferred growing conditions and any other information you may want to remember for next year. Seeds remain usable for up to four years when stored safely.

Although you can harvest seeds from all plant types, annuals are the easiest. Try some of these prolific annual flowers for easy seed-saving:

  • Cleome
  • Datura
  • Larkspur
  • Marigolds
  • Morning Glory
  • Nasturtium
  • Poppy
  • Snapdragons

How to Care For Succulents: The Basics Tips

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Beginner and advanced gardeners alike appreciate succulents for their beautiful and enduring qualities. You’ve heard of the most famous succulent plants such as aloe, agave and cacti. No matter which type you choose to grow, here are some simple rules to follow to keep your succulents happy and healthy all year long.

Light

Succulents require bright light and prefer to be placed near a south-facing window. Fortunately, succulents’ leaves are able to tell you if the plant is getting the correct about of light. Brown or white leaves mean the plant is getting too much direct sunlight. Stretched out stems and widely spaced leaves indicate the plant is underlit.

Temperature

Often found in the desert, succulents are used to extreme temperature contrasts between night and day. Although they can survive colder nights with temps down to 40°F, their preferred temperature range is between 70ºF and 85ºF during the day and between 50ºF and 55ºF at night.

Water

Generously water your succulents in the summer, but allow the potting mix to dry between waterings. During the winter, succulents need water only once every other month. Overwatered plants will appear soft and discolored. If this happens, try removing the plant’s dead roots and repotting into a drier potting mix. On the flip side, underwatered plants will develop brown spots, stop growing and shed leaves.

Soil

Look for a potting mixture that is designed for cacti and succulents. You could also use a normal potting mix with added perlite for increased aeration and drainage. The mixture should be, most importantly, fast-draining. Fertilizer should be used only during the summer growing season.

What You Need To Know About Black Spot Plant Disease

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While you may think this fungus affects only roses, black spot plant disease doesn’t discriminate. With the right conditions, it will latch on to any plant with fleshy leaves and stems. Black spot fungus loves the wet, cool temperatures of spring.

The disease starts with tiny black spots on leaves. As time progresses, the spots develop a yellow ring and eventually take over the leaf until it dies.

Prevention tips

The first step to preventing black spot disease in your garden is to pay close attention and inspect your garden on a regular basis. The earlier you catch it, the brighter the future for any infected plants you might find.

Take preventive measures and keep your garden beautiful and lively. Spray an organic fungicide or neem oil early in the spring season before temperatures reach 60 degrees. For additional peace of mind, make sure your plants get plenty of suns and good air circulation. Avoid watering on cloudy days to cut down on excess moisture.

Black spot treatment options

If you notice an outbreak, dispose of or burn all affected leaves and stems immediately. When treated correctly, black spot fungus will rarely kill the entire host plant. Black spot fungus spores travel from leaf to leaf and plant to plant, both with the wind and thorough watering.

It’s important to treat the disease right from the start. Spray the affected area with fungicide or neem oil.

List of Perennial Flowers

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I have a long list of perennial flowers that I love! I most definitely prefer perennial plants to annuals, even though the flower display isn’t QUITE as impressive. Perennials are planted once, and come back year after year, whereas annual flowers must be planted…you guessed it…annually!

Perennials tend to double in size with each passing year, and may need to be divided periodically to prevent over-crowding and to revitalize tired plants. This is a good thing, as far as I’m concerned, since that means that you have a never ending supply of plants to relocate throughout your yard!

The perennial flowers available to you are extensive, and I won’t be able to cover them all here. I will hit the highlights for popular perennials in the mid-west, and will provide you with information to help you decide which plants are right for you.

When deciding on your perennials, the key is to create a design for the area that you wish to focus on, taking into consideration the height, shape, color, and texture of the plants that you’d like to include. Be sure to educate yourself about bloom time and color. It will be important to have flowers blooming on different plants throughout the season, so that when one plant is dying back, another one is coming into full bloom. Carefully select colors that will compliment each other when they are in full bloom.


Climbing Vines

Climbing Vines

Climbing vines such as clematis, fill up empty spaces quite nicely, particularly when placed in full sun. A friend of mine has a clematis vine just like this one, along the east side of her home, and it is in full glory by mid-summer. This vine grows well with little maintenance once it’s established, and can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. Clematis is definitely one of the easier flowers to grow in the yard, and is a good choice for beginners and pros alike.


Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental Grasses

How I love these! I have Zebra Ornamental Grasses planted in my garden design, and have also worked with fountain grass, blue fescue, and others. Grasses are typically very low maintenance and make a nice balance amount other perennials, annuals and bushes in a garden design. Be sure to keep the grasses up throughout the winter, and wait to cut them back until spring. Perennial ornamental grasses are known for providing beautiful winter interest in the garden…plums are often full and foliage has turned color during the fall. Plant grasses in clusters to maximize their impact.


Daylilies

Daylilies

Daylilies are a favorite in many gardens throughout the Midwest. I have a row of Stella Doro daylilies planted along with the garage, but mass plantings of daylilies can sometimes be an “over-utilized” design. Try some of the more unique daylilies with varying heights and colors, and plant them as specimen plants in the garden among your other perennials. These perennials should be dead headed on a regular basis to encourage repeat blooms. Pull the entire flower stalk out once it has bloomed, and get rid of any brown foliage. While dead-heading isn’t a necessary step, it will help keep these plants looking their best.


Lamb’s Ears

If you’ve not had experience with lamb’s ears, you’ll quickly figure out how they got their name…soft, fuzzy foliage! These have got to be one of the hardiest perennials I’ve ever seen! This plant grows relatively low to the ground – about 6 inches tall – but has tall flower stalks that shoot up throughout the summer. The stalks can be over 2 feet tall.

Lamb's Ears

This perennial gets mixed reviews from me and from others. The foliage is somewhat interesting, but the flower shoots make the plant look a bit sloppy in my opinion. It can also spread fairly easily throughout an area, which may or may not be a good thing. I’ve used lamb’s ears for areas in the yard where literally no other plant will grow well. The first time I planted them, it was in very dry, gravely soil next to my driveway. And….I’m ashamed to admit….I drove over them numerous times. Oops! But they survived regardless, and kept coming back year after year. I simply cut down the flower stalks when they would appear, and it functioned as a nice ground cover. The foliage is interesting, and filled up a space where most other plants would have quickly perished.


Black-Eyed Susan

There are several different cultivars of black-eyed susan, and Goldstrum is one that should be avoided! Unfortunately, Goldstrum is HIGHLY susceptible to a fungal disease called Botrytis. Botrytis affects the foliage and the flowers of the plant, and can spread relatively quickly across an entire planting.

Black-Eyed Susan

It cannot be cured, and the entire planting will need to be removed. In addition, Botrytis can be spread to other flowers via pollinators. A safer bet is to purchase a different variety of black-eyed susan other than Goldstrum. Black-eyed susan is a dependable perennial with long-lasting blooms. Plants can tolerate a variety of soil conditions and is relatively low maintenance. Plants grow to be about 2-3 feet tall and produce yellow daisies with brown centers. Due to their spreading habits, they do a fairly good job of keeping weeds at bay. Plants will need to be divided every couple of years to maintain their healthy appearance.


Balloon Flowers

These perennials are just so pretty to me! As they establish themselves, they can look so graceful in groupings. I ordered blue and white Balloon Flowers and I just love the way they look in my garden! You may want to consider providing support for them as they grow to over 3 feet tall. While their stems are sturdy, they tend to lop over a bit due to their weight.


Delphiniums

Delphiniums are another beautiful, graceful perennial that exhibits some of the most wonderful shades of blue and pink. Unfortunately, I have not been terribly successful with these plants. They tend to be a little more delicate than the others I work with. They like the right amount of sun, nutrient rich, well-drained soil, and the right amount of water. If you go with delphinium, be sure to choose the right location and you will not be disappointed! Depending on the variety you select, they range in height from about 18” to over 3 feet.


Hydrangeas

How do you like my Nikko Blue Hydrangea?? No, your eyes don’t deceive you, and the picture isn’t bad…the flowers are in fact…pink. The flowers of this plant are affected by the acidity/alkalinity of the soil.

Hydrangeas

Many people choose to increase or decrease the acidity of the soil in order to produce the flower color of their choice, but I find that to be a little too high maintenance for me, so I enjoy the color that the plants produce naturally in my yard.

If you’re interested in learning more about this phenomenon, or have a desire to change the color of your hydrangea, check out the information at Growing Blue Hydrangeas.


Peony Bushes

Peony bushes come in all different colors, and grow to be about 3 feet tall, and 2 to 3 feet wide. These plants need full sun to perform at their best, however I have been able to grow them in partial shade. The peony makes my list of perennial flowers because of how amazingly reliable and hardy these bushes are once they’re established.

Peony Bushes

On an interesting side note, however…they do NOT transplant well. (Trust me, I’ve tried!) I had one bush growing next to my house with no sunlight and very little water. That trouper survived for years until I decided that it was time to transplant it to a healthy, sunny spot in my garden. That was the beginning of the end for that sad plant. 🙁

Flowers bloom in early spring and plants grow into temporary bushes, dying back at the end of the season every year. Flowers are good for cut arrangements, however be sure to cut no more than 1/3 of the flowers off every year, or flower production will suffer in subsequent years.


Herbs

Consider establishing a basic herb garden in your own yard. Many herbs are perennials, such as this oregano plant I’ve had for years. They make interesting foliage and contribute to the garden design…in addition to being just plain old delicious!

Herbs

You can’t beat fresh herbs for cooking, and you’ll be delighted to find out how many perennial herbs return, and quickly spread, each year! Try oregano, chive, Echinacea, lavender, sage and mint. Mint is one of my favorites for teas and drinks, but it takes over a garden area if you let it! For that reason, be careful where you establish your herb garden, as it may spread more than you want it to.

How to Make Vermicompost – Guide for Beginners

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Vermicompost is WORM compost!

WORM COMPOST?

Ah, yes……this true that worm compost is not for the faint of heart….or the queasy of stomach!

This method of composting produces the most beneficial compost around, and it can be added to both indoor and outdoor plants.

Is it right for you, and will it be part of your backyard landscaping adventure?

Let’s talk about what’s involved, and you can be the judge of that…

How does this vermicompost process actually work?

Well, the worms, which must be ‘Red Wigglers’ are a specifically selected variety designed to produce the highest quality ‘dung’ imaginable!

They are not your average garden variety worms that are available in the soil.

Nope! They are specific worms that are designed to munch away on certain types of kitchen scraps.

Where and how does one produce vermicompost?

Well, a composting bin that can be purchased, or made from scratch is made specifically to hold the worm composters.

As approved kitchen scraps are added to their bin…they munch to completion….expel the brown gold…and prepare themselves for the next helping.

So, imagine a bin of worms ready to go to work for you. Think for a moment if you will, where one of these bins might need to be housed? Obviously they can’t get too cold….or they’ll die….and they can’t get too hot….or they’ll die.

As Goldilocks once said, they need to be “just right”!

Now where in the world, would there be a good location, to keep those worms not too hot and not too cold?

Those little buggers need to be kept nice and comfy in your home with you!

Under the kitchen sink? In the basement? It doesn’t really matter as long as it’s a moderately tempered environment – approximately 55-75 degrees.

Some will say that they can be kept in the garage, or outside if the temperature is right, however this can be problematic. If they’re kept outside, there is a possibility that they can get too hot, cold, or too wet from the rain.

If they’re in your garage, same problem minus the too wet part. And if you’re going to go through the trouble of doing this, you might want to keep your worms as safe from the elements as possible.

The worms will have to be Red Wigglers. Do not try to use earthworms as they will not produce the results that you’re looking for. Best to leave those buggers out in the yard!

Red Wigglers can be purchased from a local fishing supplies store, or on the internet. Believe it or not, they do survive the shipping process!

I have ordered my Red Wigglers from what seems to be a reputable supplier, and have just finished adding them to their new home.

Let’s talk about how to make a compost bin so you can decide whether you’d like to build one yourself, or get one pre-made:


Easy to make a bin for vermicompost:

There’s a lot of info on the web these days about vermicomposting and fancy bins to go along with it, but you probably already have much of what you need on hand at your house.

Well, except for the worms…

Ingredients:

  • 1 8-10 gallon Rubbermaid container with lid
  • shredded newspaper
  • piece of cardboard that is the same size as the opening to the container
  • 2 mesh screens (window screens) that are a couple of inches longer and wider than the Rubbermaid container with holes big enough for small worms to crawl through (1/8 of an inch)
  • several rocks/bricks/wood pieces, or something to elevate the worms off of the bottom of the container
  • kitchen scraps – coffee grounds, vegetable and fruits scraps, egg shells, etc. NO CITRUS! The worms don’t like citrus.

Vermi Compost Bin – Step 1

First you will want to drill holes all the way around the top of the Rubbermaid container. The worms need to breathe! 🙂

Make sure that the holes are large enough – about 1/2 inch in diameter, and that they are drilled ALL THE WAY around the container.

If you are using 2 bins (one sits inside the other) you can also drill holes on the bottom of this container. I’m only using one bin, so I won’t do that step.

wormcompost02

Vermi Compost Bin – Step 2

Next you’ll want to set the rocks/bricks/or wood in the bottom of the container.

This is done to keep the worms elevated from any ‘worm tea’ that falls to the bottom of the bin. (This tea is valuable, by the way, and can be poured on your garden plants!)

If the worms sit in any standing liquid, or are too wet, they could die. You want to have a moist environment, but not a soggy one.

wormcompost03

Vermi Compost Bin – Step 3

Then you’ll want to lay one of the mesh screens on top of the wood, folding in the sides just a bit.

This mesh screen will hold the worms and their food nicely.

wormcompost05

Vermi Compost Bin – Step 4

Time to load your bin with worms and food!

First, put down a layer of shredded newspaper. This serves as bedding for the worms, and they will actually eat through these items. The newspaper strips should be about 1 inch thick.

Make sure that the newspaper you’re adding to the bin is black and white. Do not use any advertisements or parts of the paper that are ‘shiny’. Some say it’s ok to use the non-shiny parts of the paper that have color ink, but I prefer to stick with the black and white.

wormcompost06

Next you’ll add a layer of kitchen scraps. I added about one gallon bucket of coffee grounds with filters, strawberries, old cilantro, onions, potato peelings, and carrot peelings.

wormcompost07

Add your worms directly on top of that.

My worms came in a gallon sized ziploc baggie with small holes in it. The worms had some soil to crawl around in, but nothing else in the bag. I added everything evenly on top of the scraps.

If you have some good potting soil around, you can add that too. I don’t know that garden soil is prohibited, but I wouldn’t add it…there could be pathogens or diseases in the soil that you’re unaware of, and it’s best to keep things a bit ‘cleaner’ in the worm bin.

Add no more than a cup or two of soil.

wormcompost08

Then on top of the worms, add ANOTHER layer of shredded newspaper. Again, this serves as bedding for the worms which they will eat through.

Then sprinkle the entire pile with water. The worms want to be kept moist, but not soggy. The newspaper shreds help with this as they will retain moisture better than the other material in the bin.

wormcompost09

Vermi Compost Bin – Step 5

The final layer is a thick piece of cardboard that has been moistened sufficiently.

This will not only serve to keep the moisture in the pile, but it will also serve to keep the fruit flies away.

Or so I’m told….we’ll see how that one works out. I’ll keep you updated for sure!

wormcompost10

So what’s the deal with the second piece of mesh???

Once the worms have eaten through most of the scraps and the newspaper in their bed, they’ll be ready for more, and you’ll want to collect all that brown gold they’ve created!

This is where the 2nd mesh screen comes into play.

Remove the piece of cardboard, and lay the next mesh piece on top of the already composted worm compost.

Make sure that this second screen, once loaded, lays ON TOP OF and TOUCHES the contents in the lower screen!

This is an important step because you are going to get the worms to MIGRATE UP to the second screen.

Complete the same process that you did for the first screen, adding layers of kitchen scraps and newspaper, wetting everything down. Although this time I’d make the first layer of newspaper very light so that the worms are ‘lured’ upwards by the kitchen scraps.

Because the worms have finished going through the first load of kitchen scraps, they will be hungry and looking for more. Putting a second layer on top of the old layer allows them to crawl up through the mesh to their new feeding ground.

Eventually, they will all (or most of them) will migrate up, and you’ll be able to lift the top layer off, and pick up the bottom layer of finished compost.

This will save you from separating the worms from the finished compost, and will hopefully decrease the amount of mess you have to deal with.

Then put the new screen back on the bottom of the bin, and use your finished compost as you’d like!

The finished compost is rich in nutrients, and is a super ingredient for plants!


Now that you know what’s involved in building your own bin, you may find that buying one already made is a better option for you.

I completely understand!

Worm Factory

This is the one that they have at the Horticulture Club at my college!

This fancy gadget works really well, and does encourage the upward migration that you’re going for with the bin and mesh screens. There is also a spigot to collect all that precious worm tea easily and effortlessly!

If you get this or something similar, the only extra purchase you should have to make is for the Red Wigglers.

Redworms can be purchased from a local fishing supplies store, or online, and will reportedly stay in the box as long as they are fed.

My advice to you? Don’t let those babies go hungry? 🙂

I have purchased my worms from Wiser Worm Farm. (This site does not receive any commission for referrals to the Wiser Worm Farm.)

You’ll have to see how long it takes for your worms to go through their food. Initially, the process will be a bit slower as the worms have not yet multiplied, and are doing the best they can.

Check your bin at least every couple of days to make sure it’s moist enough and has enough food. The first load of compost will take a couple of months to complete.

Once it’s done, you can add the vermicompost to house plants or in the garden. Add about 1/2 to 1 cup of worm compost around the base of the plant, and work lightly into the top of the soil.

Enjoy the journey with your new gardening companions!


Update on my vermicompost adventure!

Well, my little red wiggler friends and I have encountered our first problem….there is soft, white, fluffy mold growing in the bin.

moldywormbed

See it?

That means that there’s not enough air flow, and things have gotten TOO moist.

So, I’ve moved the bin out to the garage (temperatures are low, but it’s ok in there) and drilled more holes around the center of the bin and along the bottom.

I then placed the container on top of the lid of another container, so the air flow could be at a premium.

I really didn’t want to have this extra ‘bottom’ bin, or tray, but there was no option with the overly moist environment.

wormcompost11

Since I’ve done this the worms are much happier, and they are vermicomposting at a fast rate! They are getting fatter by the day!

I’ve looked through some of the spoils with the worms, and I’m noticing that the bigger chunks of fruits and veggies are not getting eaten as fast, while the smaller items are disappearing steadily.

They are particularly found on coffee grounds!

Also, the newspaper that I have laid on top of them and the compost is left untouched, while the newspaper underneath seems to be getting eaten.

What I can surmise from this is, mix in a few shreds of newspaper along with your compost and feed to the worms. Also, keep the scraps as soft as possible to quicken the digestion process.

I’ll go in again in a week or two to see their progress!

To be continued…..

Organic Weed Control: Some Useful Tips You Can Consider

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Utilizing organic weed control methods can be challenging when trying to rid your yard of these invasive critters.

Weeds must be dealt with in your vegetable garden, your perennial garden, your annual garden, your lawn, your patio, in between cracks in the driveway and growing up through the cracks and crevices in your deck. They like the sun, they like the shade, they grow in dry soil, they grow in moist soil, they are an ongoing, never-ending issue!

What is a weed and what is a precious plant?

Just pull on it! If it comes out of the ground easily, rest assured it was a precious plant! 😉

Of course, every area comes with its own unique set of opportunities and challenges. There are also your own personal feelings and preferences that you have to grapple with as you decide how to proceed.

Personally, I would like to get myself to a point of gardening and landscaping in a completely organic way, including organic weed control. While for the most part, I think I have been successful, controlling weeds without herbicides can be a challenge. (Unless you have an exorbitant amount of time to pull them by hand, of course, which I don’t.)

What is a weed and what is a precious plant?

My most favorite form of keeping these nasty little suckers at bay is using a biodegradable landscaping fabric such as newspaper, and then layering it with 4-6 inches of organic mulch. This is a preventative form of organic weed control which is very effective!

I’ve had lots of success controlling weeds in many areas of my yard using this preventative measure to eliminate the need for pesticides.

Ground Covers

Utilizing plants that function as ground covers is another method of organic weed control that is extremely effective. Ground covers are those plants that do not grow very tall, and tend to “hug” the ground, forming thick, dense mats that prevent any weed growth from happening.

Ground covers that I have found effective are Blue Rug Juniper, Lamb’s Ears, and Day Lilies. Be careful with the ground cover that you select as some are quite invasive. I have Lamb’s Ears planted next to the road at the end of my driveway.

They are one of the most resilient plants I’ve seen!

I’ve driven over them numerous times, cut them off with a lawnmower, and planted them in the most awful, gravel-filled soil I’ve seen, and they continue to thrive. They are somewhat invasive, however, and have tried to sprout up in the surrounding lawn.

Nice healthy ground covers cover an area very well which makes yearly maintenance a breeze!

Use a Fertilizer

Truly, the key to organic weed control in any yard is preventative maintenance. Once weeds are out of control, it often takes extra measures to get rid of them which may involve pesticides.

For organic weed control in your lawn, use a fertilizer such as Milorganite. It can be located near the lawn seed and fertilizer. However if you have trouble finding it, store employees should be able to assist you by simply asking for it by name.

This product is safe to use around children and dogs, and is gentle on the lawn. Plants will take in only the nutrients that are needed at the time. This product will help encourage the healthy growth of turf and other plants in the yard, which will help keep the bad stuff at bay.

More information on Milorganite can be obtained from the official Milorganite website if you’d like all the juicy details about this great product.

Vegetation Killer

Maintaining a healthy lawn will keep weeds at bay as the lawn functions as the ultimate ground cover. Where a healthy lawn grows, weeds cannot take hold!

When it comes to unwanted growth between pavers in your patio, or cracks in the cement, organic weed control can be challenging. I have used total vegetation killer, which wipes out any vegetation that it touches for up to a period of one year. I utilized the product early in the season, and all plant growth between the stone was prevented for a full year.

While the product did achieve the desired result, I can’t say that I felt good about using such a toxic product. I do have a dog and had to be extremely cautious to prevent her from walking in the area for a period of time. Also, now that I have two beautiful nieces, I would not use anything this toxic again.

If you do use this product, and end up using a watering can to spread the liquid, do not use that same watering can for any valuable plants again. Traces of the chemicals can remain in the container even once it is rinsed out and could cause damage or destruction to other plants. Such a toxic product can be dangerous to surround plants depending on the root system. If you were to pour this product into the ground, and it had contact with the root of a precious plant, tree or bush, the plant would die.

Some Type of Light Mulch

To maintain organic weed control in cracks and crevices, you’ll need to stay on top of your weeds, pulling them as they emerge. When it comes to a patio made with landscaping stone or pavers, a low growing plant such as moss can be planted between the crevices. The growth of the moss will prevent any weeds from growing as with other ground covers already discussed.

Organic weed control in the garden can be a little tricky due to the fact that you probably won’t be using a very heavy layer of mulch, if you use any at all.

However, the garden is one area that you would DEFINITELY want to employ organic weed control techniques to preserve the integrity of your fruits and vegetables.

I would recommend putting down some type of light mulch such as chopped up leaves or grass to provide a walking surface amongst the plants, and to prevent weeds from growing within the rows.

To help you control weeds in the garden, you’ll probably need one of the following garden tools: a garden hoe to hack away the young weeds on a regular basis, or a device such as the Garden weasel to turn over the soil as new growth emerges.

It is possible to turn weeds into the soil because it adds organic matter to the soil, thus improving the overall condition of the soil. As long as you get rid of weeds and seeds before they grow too big, the process should be relatively painless.

I hope this gives you some helpful information on organic weed control in your own yard.

Mums Flowers: Your Fall Planting Guide

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When summer fades and fall arrives, it can be hard not to mourn the loss of daylight and brightly colored blooms. Have no fear, however, because your garden can flourish in color well after August comes to a close. Fall decorating with mums, or chrysanthemums, provides endless beauty as one season changes to the next.

Mums, which are bright and versatile, are a fall gardening favorite. With hundreds of varieties that tend to thrive in cooler temperatures, you can create beautiful harvest presentations. Native to Asia and northeastern Europe, mums give you the option to choose from a number of various colors, shapes and bloom times. Mums also prosper in containers, so you can easily use them to decorate indoors. They look great in clay pots or lined up in a window box. They add texture to any garden or indoor space, and they provide an easy and inexpensive pop of color.

You can find mums at almost any garden store or center. Although mums are best when planted in the spring, these stores often sell them year-round. From vibrant purples and yellows to blazing oranges, reds and pinks, mums promise new life anywhere you choose to plant them.

Florist and Hardy Mums

Florist and Hardy Mums

There are two different types of mum plants that stem from the same original parent. Florist, or cutting mums, have larger flowers and form a variety of bloom shapes. These types of mums grow only in greenhouses and are mainly indoor plants. Florist mums are often used in the short-term, as they lack underground stolons, which are what a plant uses to survive in cold temperatures. You can plant a florist mum, but it will not survive the winter no matter how much protection it receives.

Hardy mums, or garden mums, however, produce much stronger root systems, allowing them to withstand colder temperatures. Hardy mums are usually perennials that are much tougher than the florist variety.

Caring for Mums

Mums can be planted as both annuals and perennials. Mums are typically inexpensive, so you won’t feel guilty planting them as annuals, since planting in the fall reduces their ability to survive a cold winter. If your plan is to keep them as perennials, it’s best to plant in the spring to give the roots more time to establish themselves. These roots are fragile and easily damaged by the winter’s ongoing cycle of freezing and thawing.

Mum plants require a little bit of maintenance if you plan to keep them past the winter. To help with the process, cut the plants back to the ground after the first hard frost. Then, apply a thick layer of mulch to protect the plant roots. After the last hard frost, remove the mulch and wait for new mum blossoms to appear.

Here are some more mum-care best practices:

  • Mums need plenty of sun, so choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight per day.
  • Mums like well-drained soil and have shallow roots. Plant them at a depth of 8 to 12 inches, and be careful when spreading the roots.
  • Your soil should always be moist, but never damp.
  • Monitor your mums and remove faded blooms to encourage more buds to open. This means you’ll have blooms deeper into the season.
  • New mum plants need to be watered thoroughly a few times a week. Once established, stick to one inch of water every week.
  • Fall annual mums don’t need fertilizer. If you plan to have them last through the winter, though, they’ll need a high-phosphorus fertilizer to encourage root health and growth.
  • Mums that grow as perennials should be divided every few years. When new growth springs up after the last hard frost, dig up the entire plant and separate pieces from the center using a sharp blade. Replant the outer portions and discard the original center of the plant.
  • Aphids and spiders like to hang out around mum plants, but they aren’t likely to cause any damage or harm.

Pinching Back Your Mums

Mums begin to sprout in the spring and grow in a bush-like shape. As a result, a mum plant left un-pruned often develops a gaping hole in the center as the weight of the flower blossoms pulls the individual stems outward. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to pinch back your mums starting in early spring and continuing throughout the growing season, beginning once the plant is about five inches tall.

To pinch back your mums, place your index finger and thumb about two inches from the base of the stem and just above a leaf. Pluck the stem just above the leaf. Continue to pluck throughout the plant and repeat this process once the plant reaches about five inches in height again.

Tips for Decorating with Mums

  • Combining colors: Create classic fall color combinations like red, gold, and orange, and then pair with a creamy white. These fire-hued plants perfectly pop against the background of a neutral front porch.
  • Intricate pots: Pair mums with other plants for a striking and unexpected potted plant look. Bright purple mums fit nicely alongside green grasses, flowering kale or ornamental cabbage.
  • Add height: Nearly everyone keeps their mums close to the ground. Use a plant stand to bring your mums closer to eye level so they really stand out for your visitors.
  • Mixed materials: Get creative with the rest of your fall décor when you add tiny pumpkins or gourds to accent the fall colors in your potted mums. The orange and yellows produced by the mini gourds look especially appealing against bright purple blossoms.
  • Choose dark colors: The blooms on darker-colored mums tend to last longer than lighter-hued blooms. Additionally, spent flowers are less noticeable so your plant appears lively for a few more weeks before winter. Mums with double blossoms will also appear healthier than those with single blossoms.
  • Clear the clutter: If you plan to decorate your front porch for fall with mums, make sure it’s free of summer clutter and décor. Stray pots, flags and wreaths can all be stored for next year.
  • Use decorative planters: Mums can be repotted into almost anything, and they look great in Coco Planters. You can also grab an eye-catching planter to replant your mums into a more attractive and eye-catching home.
  • Unlikely containers: An old wheelbarrow makes the perfect setting for an overflow of mums and greenery. Place purple mums in the middle and surround them with sprouts of flowering kale to create an interesting focal point in your front yard.
  • Coordinate with falling leaves: If there’s a big tree in your yard that turns bright red each year, add harmony to your fall landscaping with a few pots of exuberant red-hued mums. On the other hand, if your yard has more evergreens, try accenting them with pink, lavender or white mums.

Popular Varieties of Mums

  • Spider mums feature long, dangly petals, like the legs of a spider.
  • Quill mums have quilled petals with hooks or coils on the ends.
  • Button mums have smaller blossoms with many petals and tend to form tiny, tight bouquets with several stems.
  • Cushion mums grow shorter and usually form a mound or cushion of blossoms.
  • Vicki mums are decorative, rich orange blooms with a dark orange center.
  • Anemone mums have one or more rows of petals with a raised center of disk-shaped florets. These blooms are often darker in color.

Mums in Your Yard

How does your yard look? Send us a photo of your mums. Do you have any questions about the care of mums? Leave us a comment below.